Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hanchurch Woods

Today we tried for the Waxwing at Biddulph after waiting for quite a while they did drop down into the trees near the car only to be spooked and departed as soon as they left, we did follow them around into the housing estate where they felt safer perched high up in some near by trees. In total there were about 20 birds.

In the afternoon we took a walk along Hanchurh nothing really was noted walking along the main track as Gem cycled along. But around the feeding area around 15 Brambling were putting on a fine show along we one of my favourite birds the Nuthatch.

Saturday, 4 March 2017


Around this time of year my mind always turns to Crossbill if I am out walking around Hanchurch Woods. While following one of the bike tracks a small group flew over but I could not locate them, but we did find a small party of Redpoll. While making our way to the track we had flushed 2 Snipe and even to Mallards (not your typical woodland birds).

Making our way back to the car our luck was in as a party of 4 Crossbill dropped into a tree close to the track, two flew off but a male and female stayed behind. The female for some reason appeared to be eating the bark off the Pine tree. The birds eventually dropped down to a pool to drink.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Martin Mere

On Sunday we headed up the M6 to Martin Mere the main reason being the Puddle Jumping for Gemma but reading the sightings board the night before I noted that Woodcock had been reported in with a note saying to ask in the In Focus Shop.
So upon arrival we did just that, not long after we were watching a at rest just the other side of the bank along the main path just before the Janet Kear hide.
Although we have seen Woodcock before we have never been so close to one so it was great watching the bird.

From the Janet Kear hide the usual "small" birds were visiting the feeders Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow and the usual Finches.

Popping in at the Discovery hide we saw the as expect wild fowl species with a few Ruff and Godwits passing through.

A Snipe was trying its best to stay hidden in a small patch of reeds although it did come out to briefly feed, popping down to one of the screens where the old Swan Link hide use to be allowed a quick shot to be grabbed.

Heading down to the Ron Barker hide it was time for one last camouflaged bird this time a Tawny Owl roosting in an Ivy covered tree by the Kingfisher hide, we couldn't spot it but a more Eagle eyed lady pointed the bird out to us.
From the Ron Barker hide we saw the first returning Avocets for the year at the reserve.

The afternoon was spent doing Gemma based activities before the pleasant drive down the M6.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Wirral Coastal Wander

As high tide on the Wirral was of a reasonable size and at around lunch time we decided to headed off that way and hope the rain held off (which it did).

First port of call was Kirby Marine Lake, we soon found a pair of Merganser out on the lake with a few Turnstone feeding around the shore line near the canoe club. Further along by the vantage point a large group of Dunlin and Redshank had taken up the boulders as their roost site they were giving great views and ever so often a group would fly in, a fantastic site and a great start to the day.

 We then moved the short distance to Hoylake Life Boat station this is one of our favourite spots to watch a high tide as it gives you somewhere to hide and great views to boot. Here the tide was moving in large numbers of Knot and Oystcatchers with a few Dunlin and Curlew thrown in for good measure. Then some movement on the strand line caught my eye, it was only a Snow Bunting! this was a great little find as we do love these birds and Lesley hadn't seen one for the year.

 As the tide was now well and truly in we headed off to have lunch at New Brighton and to grab a few Purple Sandpiper for the bag. We saw 6 birds huddled up with Turnstone and Redshank.

 Lastly we called in at Burton Mere we didn't manage to see the Water Pipit but we did spot the Snipe that was trying its best to blend in with the reeds.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Giving into Temptation

This weekend we finally broke and gave into temptation that is to say we finally headed for the Cotswolds and the Blue Rock Thrush that had taken a liking to Stow in the Wold. At least the bird has class and not tuned up in some council estate.
We don't usually travel this far to see a bird but as Slimbridge was not too far away and we have not been for quite a while we decided to head down South for the day.

The Blue Rock Thrush soon popped into sight after we arrived meaning we only had to wait around 5 minutes after grabbing a few shots and as it had flown off it was off to Slimbridge.

All of the parks for Gem unfortunately were either closed or too muddy so it was just quick play and a look at the Flamingos tucked away before it was back to birding.
From the Kingfisher hide we saw White Fronted Geese which was a nice year tick but nothing else really that was new. From the Zeiss hide we saw a very showy Water Rail allowing me to grab a few shots.

Around the main body of the collection we saw a pair of Coots having areal scrap.

Soon after we bumped into some local birders (local to use that is) strange where you might bumped into some fellow Staffs birders.

After a nice lunch in the cafe we did a few more hides adding to our collection Bewick Swan, Little Stint and Crane.